This sweet darling passed on two days ago.
I can't write about my grief. Don't know how to. I want to tell you about Gabby instead.
About seven years ago, my family and I found this stray by the roadside quite a distance from where we live. There was a tyre mark on the lower part of her body. Could be a motorbike or a bicycle accident. Poor thing, she was mewing for help.
We got her to the nearest vet, who said she wouldn't be able to make it because her spine had been injured. She would need help clearing her bladder few times every day. A subsequent vet predicted she would last for a year at the most.
The thing is, I don't believe in putting animals down unless I am certain they are suffering. Gabby had mewed for help. She wanted to live. And if she didn't, I know she would stop eating and pass on her own. We wanted it to be Gabby's choice. Anyway, she didn't seem to be in pain any longer. She couldn't move around like a normal cat, but she could go on living.
We weren't able to help her with her bladder but we contacted a lady who could. Gabby had a home at last. The lady's domestic helper, Meimei, had just arrived at the household at the same time. She took care of Gabby for almost seven years.
I visited Gabby either every week or every fortnight. She lived in Meimei's room with other cats. We would cuddle; she would lay her head on my curved palm (best kitty pillow ever, I'd like to believe) or eat from my hand.
She lived on for six and a half years. And enjoyed countless plates of tuna, chicken soup, and biscuits. She did have her bouts of diarrhea and mouth ulcers, just like many other healthy cats there do. Otherwise, she had a good life, despite the circumstances.
She had friends. She had love.
Last week, she stopped eating. When I visited her, she allowed me to feed her. Three-quarter plate of tuna ~ Meimei said Gabby had saved her last meal for me. The next few days, I spent hours and hours with her. She slept on my palm, listened to songs, and let us carry her out to the porch to enjoy a cool Monday afternoon.
Early next morning, I received Meimei's message that Gabby had passed at around 4:30am. Quietly.
That evening, I went for a lesson with a student. I didn't bring up Gabby and tried not to let my sorrow show.
I told my student to pick out a picture book to read and write her version of the story, as essay-writing practice. We do this often.
She picked out this:
Well, what do you know.
"I've had a good life, better than most ..." Mr. Muffin was an aging guinea pig who received letters and almonds from his child-owner. This story is about his lifetime.
In the last letter Mr. Muffin received, the child wrote:
"I have been up all night, too,
lying in my bed and thinking about death.
I think that either you just get to rest,
and that's nothing to be scared of.
Or you go to heaven and
everything will be all right."
Well, what do you know.
Hopefully pets who have left us would really be all right ...
For my first and previous pet, I write her letters and cards every year on her anniversary. I know I'll do the same for Gabby. It's the only way I know to let them know I miss them.
If you or your child ever have to say goodbye to a beloved pet, perhaps you could check out "Goodbye, Mr. Muffin."
Saying it would still hurt very much but at least the waves of sorrow wouldn't thrash wildly for too long.
Rest now, my sweet darling. You had the strongest spirit I know. You'd been very ladylike throughout. You'd been very brave and were full of grace. I'm so grateful to have known and loved you in this lifetime.
Very, very, very grateful.
Grab My Button!
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Hey, I'm Claudine. Welcome!
Want to know what children's stories can inspire & lead to?
by Kate Hanney
Really enjoyed the honest voice of this narrator ~ a teenager let down by his mother and the foster care system, and almost-picked up through his involvement with a gang.